The Cambridge history of South African literature /

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Bibliographic Details
Imprint:Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Description:xvii, 877 p. ; 24 cm.
Subject:South African literature -- History and criticism.
South African literature.
Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Format: Print Book
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Other authors / contributors:Attwell, David.
Attridge, Derek.
ISBN:9780521199285 (hardback)
052119928X (hardback)
Notes:Includes bibliographical references and index.
Summary:"South Africa's unique history has produced literatures in many languages, in oral and written forms, reflecting the diversity in the cultural histories and experience of its peoples. The Cambridge History offers a comprehensive, multi-authored history of South African literature in all the country's eleven official languages (and more minor ones), produced by a team of over forty international experts, including contributors drawn from all of the major regions and language groups of South Africa. It will provide a complete portrait of South Africa's literary production, organised as a chronological history from the oral traditions existing before colonial settlement to the post-apartheid revision of the past. In a field marked by controversy, this volume ismore fully representative than any existing account of South Africa's literary history. It will make a unique contribution to Commonwealth, international and postcolonial studies, and serve as a definitive reference work for decades to come"--
Review by Choice Review

With the formal dismantling of apartheid and the first democratic elections in 1994, previously inaccessible material became available, thus making possible this project. Comprising 39 essays by 43 contributors, the collection covers literature written in the 11 official languages of South Africa. Attwell and Attridge (both, Univ. of York, UK) divide the volume into six chronological parts that correspond to defining South African literary/historical moments: e.g., part 3, covering 1820-1910, embraces the Boer Wars. The porousness of the chronological divisions results in some overlap. For example, Elsa Joubert's The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena (1980) is cited as an example of Afrikaner literature (in a chapter covering 1948-76), then (post 1976) as an example of women's writing, and finally (post 1994) an as example of the confessional genre, or auto-ethnography, identified with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Notwithstanding this overlap, the identification of both the wellsprings and curvature of South African literature, likened to an archipelago--a constructed land or sea mass distinct in its unity and formation--make the collection a valuable resource. The chapter-end bibliographies add to the book's value. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, researchers. T. L. Jackson St. Cloud State University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review